Reviewby Theron Martin, Sep 9th 2004
Mahoromatic: Summer Special
This episode-length Summer Special is so named because it was released during the summer of 2003, not because the action is set in the summer. Its events actually take place in the early spring of the second season, likely between episodes 9 and 10. The story focuses entirely on Mahoro's efforts to rid the household of Suguru's secret stashes of dirty books, which has been a running joke throughout both seasons of Mahoromatic but now receives feature treatment. To help in her quest, Mahoro secretly enlists the aid of all the regular female characters, while Suguru recruits Kiyoni, Toshiya, and a reluctant Slash to help make sure that Mahoro doesn't lay hands on the mother lode of dirty books and magazines. Thus does the battle of wills commence!
I am a great fan of both seasons of Mahoromatic, so I was eagerly looking forward to seeing the characters in action one more time. I was sadly disappointed by this shoddy production, however, and I suspect that most fans of the series will be, too. The story takes a minor joke and beats it to death, creating an episode that is sometimes funny but more often tired and tedious. It does redeem itself slightly by providing insight as to how Mahoro came to espouse her philosophy of “dirty thoughts are bad!” and why Suguru is such a fiend for dirty books – and, surprisingly, the source of both inspirations is the same: Suguru's father. The flashback scene where the elder Misato explains about dirty magazines to a young Suguru is the high point of the special.
Technical merits were not the strong points of the second season of Mahoromatic, but the Summer Special makes them look good by comparison. The artistry and animation are both substandard; one cannot escape the impression that this special was thrown together quickly to capitalize on the success of the series. The grand Mahoromatic tradition of including loads of fan service is continued, however, as all the core female characters appear nude in addition to pictures from various dirty magazines and an occasional panty shot. There's even fan service in the opener, which uses the same song as the second season but sets it to assorted images from both seasons. The brand-new closer follows the pattern of earlier closers, this time featuring SD versions of the girls clad in kimonos and performing a traditional dance. As before, it's set to very saucy lyrics.
The English dub has always been a strong point for Mahoromatic, and this special is no exception. It is, in fact, the only thing the production does well. I have always thought that the Japanese vocal performances for Mahoromatic, by comparison, were a little weak, and this production is no different. Little meaning is lost or changed in the translation, although that isn't saying much since there wasn't much meaning to begin with.
The DVD for the Summer Special includes the typical trailers, a clean opener and closer, and color and line art galleries. Also included are 3-5 minute promo videos for each season and the Summer Special, which feature Suguru and Mahoro conversing with each other about an animation studio wanting to make an anime series about them. These clever bits are the true highlight of the DVD and almost justify its purchase on their own. Noticeably absent is the “Satellite Poem” seen at the end of each regular season episode.
The Mahoromatic Summer Special is a production purely for fans of the regular series. I cannot recommend it based solely on its own merits.
Overall (dub) : C+
Overall (sub) : C
Story : D
Animation : C-
Art : C
Music : C
+ Great new closer, promo videos in the extra
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